Longest serving Rick retires
The 64-year-old spent the last 32 years of his 47.5-year career with “a great crew” at Yarrawonga.
“I loved it – helping people, the involvement with the community, the camaraderie with fellow police officers,” the man popularly known on the golf course as Rick, said of his career.
“It was a great crew at Yarrawonga Police Station. We stuck together, very close and family orientated.”
The former Box Hill Technical student joined the police force following advice from his grandfather Jim Stewart. He said: ‘Why don’t you join the police force – that’s a good steady job’,” Rick explained.
After his graduation in 1974 from the St Kilda Road Melbourne Police Barracks, Rick only ever served at two police stations, previously performing general duties work at Heidelberg where he met his future wife Kerry.
“He met the love of his life at Heidelberg Police Station!” former police officer for a decade, wife of 37 years, Kerry, said.
Five years after marriage, the Ellis family moved to Yarrawonga in 1989. “When I came to Yarrawonga there was a sergeant and three senior constables, and you’d work on your own a lot,” the recently retired senior representative at Yarrawonga said.
“There was just the one vehicle, a sedan, which was tricky when you had an offender in the car with you. Now there’s a sergeant and nine senior constables and more vehicles - more suitable vehicles.”
A new, much larger facility in a different location, from Irvine Parade to the corner of Murray Valley Highway and Benalla Road, has also occurred.
Over the three decades in Yarrawonga, Senior
Leading Constable Ellis arrested hundreds of people for indiscretions. Both Kerry and Rick said: “One very satisfying aspect to the job was seeing people who made a mistake turn out to be good people who achieved well in their lives.”
Rick added: “I could walk down the street and those people would still say g’day or talk to me.”
Domestic disputes for which police are so often called to are never easy. “They are nasty and unfortunately take up a lot of our time,” he said.
Another nasty time was on February 20, 2007 when the senior leading constable disarmed a man in Yarrawonga, for which Rick received a Commendation for Bravery from Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie on February 20, 2007.
Yarrawonga Sergeant Ted Graham said for anyone to be in the same working career for almost 50 years, especially in the police environment, is an excellent achievement.
“Especially so over the last two years there’s been quite a dramatic change with technology, but Rick’s been able to change and adapt quite readily without fuss,” Sgt. Graham said.
“Rick’s been a pleasure to manage and a very capable officer. His long-term loyalty has been wonderful to the police force and the community.
“You can’t not learn from a person like him, and Russell (Lead.Sen.Const. Welsh). You can’t put a value on it.”
Leading Senior Constable Russell Welch commenced duty at Yarrawonga in the same year as his retired mate. “He always reminded me he started six months before me, at Easter in 1989!” Lead.Sen.Welsh said.
“I said, but I brought more luck with the footy finals (Yarrawonga winning the 1989 premiership)!
“In all the 32 years I worked with Rick I don’t think we ever had a cross word. It was a pleasure to work with him. You learnt to know how he felt about policing. It was just easy to go out on jobs with him.
“Rick was very well respected by all. He was a really good cop. He was always firm but fair.”
In retirement, Rick loves being able to play more golf and more fishing. After a police career spanning 47 years, it’s well deserved!
When Yarrawonga Police Station’s Senior Leading Constable Rick Ellis formally retired on July 22, he was the longest ever serving police officer at the station.